We first tested the Stretto when it was launched in 2010, and we were impressed. It’s billed as as a pure-bred race bike, but the fact that the frameset offered ample comfort swayed us to try the 2012 model as a sportive bike.
- Highs: Agile, responsive and great fun to ride
- Lows: Braking has a lack of feel and saddle is prone to absorbing water
- Buy if: You want a race bike that will handle big distances with ease
Climb aboard the Stretto and the lively, responsive nature of the frame is instantly apparent. The front end tracks superbly and the taut frame responds to effort immediately. The SRAM Force package includes a standard 53/39 chainset rather than compact, but combined with a 12-27 cassette gives a bottom gear of 39x27 that will get you up most climbs with ease.
What sets the Moda apart from the competition is its lightweight American Classic wheelset – paired with Kenda Kaliente 23mm tyres, these make for a seriously swift ride. It’s a combination that enables the Stretto to attack climbs with its shackles off – even with its taller gearing.
With its oversized, arched seatstays, the stout frame could result in a ride that’s on the firm side, but the Barelli carbon seatpost offers plenty of compliance and takes the sting out of the back end. Upfront it’s a similar story – the Barelli carbon stem is good and stiff while the matching carbon bar has just enough inherent flex to cut out vibration from uneven road surfaces.
The testing period coincided with a fair amount of traditional British weather – rain, and lots of it – which showed up some flaws in the Moda package. The firm yet comfortable Barelli saddle was prone to absorbing water, and was still damp when we came to do the next ride.
The other niggle is with the brakes. Also from Barelli, these are a single-pivot design with a cam action to increase the leverage. While this gives ample stopping power, they lack modulation, especially when descending.
The on-or-off nature of the brakes meant we descended slower in the rain than on an equivalent bike that carried SRAM’s excellent Force brakes to match the drivetrain. In the dry you wouldn’t have the same problems, but riding in Britain you can’t count on dry roads. The brakes are equipped with good quality, soft compound pads, which help but don’t cure the lack of feel.